Lia Thomas just can’t catch a break. The swimmer formerly known as Will Thomas had just won the 500m freestyle swimming NCAA title but the condemnations keep on coming.
For those keeping score at home, Thomas was condemned by a variety of personalities from all walks of life from politics to sports. Thomas’ choice to participate in women’s division was questioned by Joe Rogan prior to this weekend. In addition to Rogan, MMA’s Ben Askren also condemned the situation. Many other athletes remain silent on the topic out of fear they might be cancelled.
Even Askren abstained from mentioning Thomas specifically and tweeted cryptically:
“If you think Biological males should compete in female division then you don’t understand sports!”
While Ryan makes several valid points it’s especially interesting to see him give more credibility to ADCC than these established mainstream sport organizations. ADCC or as it was originally called Abu Dhabi Combat Club was established by Sheik Tahnoun Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan is the son of the founder of the United Arab Emirates. He currently serves as the National Security Advisor of UAE.
But aside from the patronage of UAE moguls, ADCC also refuses to police PED abuse. The PED abuse is a rampant problem in jiu jitsu and is generally mishandled even in the organizations that are trying to appear like they’re on top of things. This in turn means, that plenty of highest level competitors are – much like Thomas – playing with their body chemistry in order to win the competition.
This isn’t to say that criticizing the NCAA is unfair – it’s just a fun little side note. NCAA is bearing the brunt of criticism for Thomas winning the 500m freestyle race and being the first trans woman to win an NCAA title in the women’s division.
Recently Jenner guested on Fox News and explained how she didn’t blame Thomas for what’s transpired, and that her ire was directed at NCAA instead.
‘[Thomas’] playing within the rules. What I’ve said from the beginning [are] the rules aren’t tough enough,’ Jenner said of the hot button issue on Fox News. ‘Just being on testosterone depressants for a year or two, whatever the rules are now, they keep changing, obviously, it is not enough.’
Jenner also believes that Thomas was downplaying her abilities so that she wouldn’t win by a huge margin because that previously caused a huge outrage:
‘Lia Thomas just dominated in the pool, and I’m sure she took it quite easily because she did not want to win by too much,’ the I am Cait star said.
‘I think she was probably taking it very easy in the race because she knew the world was watching, and she’s just going to go fast enough to be able to win the race,’ Jenner said on Fox News.
‘Honestly, I would love to talk to Lia Thomas, I would love to sit down for an hour and discuss this issue with her. I don’t think she’s done anything wrong. She’s played by the rules, but I want to know what her motivation is. If she feels good about this, what’s going on in her head?’